Articles Posted in Verdicts and Settlements

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A plaintiff from Edwardsville, Illinois, recently won her damages suit resulting from a rear-end car accident she was involved in two years ago. The plaintiff claimed damages based on neck and back pain she experienced after the accident, confirms local reports. She claimed that her life was not the same after the accident since she experienced physical pain, which restricted her abilities to live the same lifestyle as she did before the injury. The plaintiff sought $30,000 in damages, while the defense lawyer argued she only deserved $3,662. The Judge sided with the plaintiff, awarding her just over $8,000.

The closing arguments from both sides placed the jury in the difficult decision of finding the right amount of monetary compensation for non-financial damages. The final argument from the plaintiff’s side was that her life was severely affected after sustaining the injuries from the accident, thus warranting the requested financial restitution. The defense’s closing argument was that $30,000 was not a reasonable sum for simply having been in an accident.

From the perspective of our Chicago car accident lawyers, the loss of a pleasure-filled life is a very serious issue, and is a potential consequence of negligent actions. It is something we do not believe can be taken lightly. With that said, there are some lessons that can be learned from this case.
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Recently, our Chicago accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti read a news report detailing the settlement of a car accident lawsuit stemming from a devastating 2003 crash. SeattleTimes.com reports that the car accident lawsuit came about as a result of a 2003 car accident in which it was alleged that Ford Motor Company maintained defects in tires on the Ford Bronco II. It was ultimately proven that the tire defects played a significant role in the crash which left the accident victim paralyzed and with cognitive impairment.

Although the report confirms that the terms of the settlement between Ford Motor Company and the accident victim have been sealed, our Chicago accident lawyers learned that a jury voted 11-1 that the defects in a Firestone tire were a factor in the 2003 crash. It was revealed that both Firestone and the use car dealer where the accident victim purchased the vehicle settled with the victim out of court. Additionally, it was unveiled that the accident victim alleged that the accident was one of several caused by tread belt separation on that particular type of Firestone tire, all the while, Ford Motor Company argued that the victim’s tire failed because it was 14 years old and had been damaged.

Any Chicago accident lawyer will tell you that when an individual is injured or killed in an automobile accident caused by a defect within the vehicle – the results can be tragic. Often times in these types of cases, the vehicle’s manufacture or dealer can be held liable if it is revealed that one or more of the motor vehicle’s parts are defective and contributed to a motor vehicle collision. Some of the most common vehicle defects include: faulty safety devices, such as defective seat belts or airbags; fuel system defects; steering defects; as well as, faulty tires.

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A 69-year-old woman has received a $4.55 million settlement stemming from a devastating car accident that resulted in debilitating personal injury in 2009 – according to a news report posted on GilroyDispatch.com. Our Chicago accident lawyers learned that the accident in question transpired on January 20, 2009, when the accident victim was traveling southbound on an interstate highway when another driver pulled out in front of her as she attempted to make a left hand turn. The woman was unable to stop and subsequently collided with the other passenger vehicle.

As a result of the accident, the 69-year-old woman suffered severe injuries that subsequently forced her to use a wheelchair for several years after the accident. Our Chicago car accident attorneys learned it is reported that the accident victim has begun to use a quad-cane instead of a wheelchair. At the time of the accident, the victim was also traveling with a passenger – who was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene as a result of the collision. Although the driver of the other passenger vehicle did not sustain injury in the accident, he has since passed away from unrelated issues.

After subsequent litigation stemming from the devastating accident, the estate of the passenger vehicle that caused the accident has been ordered by the court to pay $610,000 for misjudging gaps in traffic – ultimately totaling up to a $3.75 million settlement from his estate. Additionally, the accident victim received compensation for the county where the accident transpired. It has been reported that the intersection of the accident was increasingly dangerous and the county ultimately agreed to a $190,000 settlement for their involvement in funding and controlling highway projects.

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Lawyers.com recently released a report detailing the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from a devastating distracted driving accident. Our Chicago accident lawyers learned that the accident in question transpired in February 2010 when the 53-year-old accident victim was traveling from Florida to Alabama in order to obtain a new job. However, the driver’s passenger vehicle was abruptly rear-ended along an interstate highway during his commute. As a direct result of the accident, the 53-year-old shattered two of his vertebrae – ultimately leaving him with no motor functions below his chest.

Shortly thereafter, the accident victim filed a negligence lawsuit against the driver of the passenger vehicle that rear-ended him – subsequently leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. However, during the trial, the defendant alleged that the victim was the party who was actually responsible for the accident. She alleged that the victim pulled right out in front of her when exiting a gas station. Nevertheless, the victim maintained that he has been traveling in that particular lane for over a mile before he was tragically struck from behind.

Our Chicago car accident attorney learned that during the crash investigation is was revealed that the defendant driver has both sent and received a text message within a two-minute window around the time the tragic accident transpired. Ultimately, this evidence was enough to convince to the jury that the defendant driver was not paying attention prior to the accident that left the victim paralyzed for life. The jury awarded the 53-year-old victim $13 million – all compensatory for his past and future medical expenses, as well as, all other losses.

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Recently, PhillyBurbs reported on a settlement for the family of a girl who was killed in a hit and run accident in 2004 while crossing the street. Although the driver was driving intoxicated and on a suspended license, he was not criminally charged with a driving under the influence or hit and run because it was decided that the road were responsible for the crash. The driver pleaded guilty and received a prison sentence for up to six years.

This accident brings up two issues our Illinois accident attorneys see over and over again: hit and runs and drunk driving. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a very serious crime, as serious as causing the accident itself. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hit and run accidents make up 15.8% of all pedestrian accidents, and alcohol and drugs play a role in 6%. If you are the victim of a hit and run accident, you should first call the police if you are able to, then use a camera of any type (even the one on most cell phones) to capture pictures of any damage that may be done in the accident. Next, you should go to the hospital and get examined by a doctor or nurse, not only to avoid possible insurance problems in the future, but also to make sure that you are not seriously injured.

A group dedicated to hit and run awareness, DeadlyRoads, reviews state laws, and serious injuries related to hit and run accidents. Like other states, leaving the scene of an accident in Illinois is illegal, and that prosecutors have the authority to go after hit and run drivers. If you cause an accident, the best thing you can do is stay at the scene and help the victims by calling for medical assistance. Investigators have the ability to track down most hit and run drivers, and the punishment will be much worse for you if you flee. In addition to criminal charges, you can also be held accountable in a civil suit.

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Our Chicago pedestrian accident attorneys recently read with interest a report titled Dangerous by Design released by Transportation for America. The report ranks Illinois the 27th most dangerous state in the U.S., and the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area 38th most dangerous in the U.S. for pedestrians. The report highlights the growing issues surrounding pedestrian accidents throughout the country, noting that although pedestrian deaths account for 12% of traffic-related deaths, little has been done to increase pedestrian safety.

The report calls for more attention to the problems and funding increases to create safer roadways for pedestrians. This funding could be used to improve our nation’s sidewalks, trails and crosswalks to create a safer environment for people on foot. The full report can be viewed on Transportation for America’s website.

Far too often, we do not consider the dangers that surround us as we walk to our homes, work, and for entertainment purposes. However, throughout our practice, our Chicago personal injury lawyers have represented a number of injured victims and the families of people who have been wrongfully killed in Illinois pedestrian accidents.

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Recently, our Chicago accident attorneys read an article detailing an accident victim’s struggle to receive adequate compensation from his own insurance company. The plaintiff, a Florida middle school science teacher, was severely injured when another vehicle ran a stop sign and collided with his vehicle – according to Lehighacrescitizen.com. Without delay, the victim received $25,000 from the other driver’s insurance company, but it was not enough to pay for the extensive medical bills that arose from spine and wrist fractures the injured party acquired in the accident.

When the injured party sought relief from his own insurance company, under his Uninsured Motorist policy, the company refused to pay out the entire $2,000,000 UM coverage the victim had purchased in case a situation like this arose. When the company made a $190,000 payment to the victim, a sum significantly less than the policy he purchased, the victim filed suit. Ultimately, the jury decided in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him over $3,000,000 for the damages incurred. Those damages included; previous medical expenses from the surgery he was required to undergo after the several fractures he sustained, future medical expenses for the extensive therapy to regain movement in his arms and hand, loss of earning ability, as well as, the pain and suffering that resulted from the effects of the accident.

Our own Chicago accident attorney Susan Novosad, who has dealt extensively with cases of motor vehicle accidents and insurance policy limits, provides helpful advice to help drivers avoid situations such as this one. Susan explains that, “drivers need to take steps to protect themselves.” In order to do this, she adds, “Drivers should begin this process by contacting a qualified insurance professional for rate information for uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage to provide added insurance protection. Let your insurance professional know that you want to take steps to protect yourself and your family in the event of a serious accident caused by a driver either without insurance or with low liability insurance policy limits.”

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Virtually all city residents have heard stories of pedestrians who have been hit by cars while traversing the ins and outs of their neighborhood. Like all other cities, Chicago remains a patchwork of moving people and machines throughout the business day. The potential for collision remains high. Sadly, Chicago car accidents involving pedestrians and a variety of moving vehicles on the road is far too high. It is incumbent upon all drivers to exercise reasonable care every moment that they are behind the wheel.

The same deadly consequences of pedestrian accidents exist throughout the country. For example, just last week the San Francisco Examiner reported on a deadly accident and the ensuing lawsuit. It was explained how a likely settlement has been proposed in the case related to a fatal car accident. Last February a 63-year old woman was walking across a street. She was within the clearly delineated crosswalk at the time. Unfortunately, a city employee was driving a public vehicle on the street at the same time, and he did not see the woman in the crosswalk. While speeding, the man ran across the intersection and struck the woman. She died from her injuries.

A car accident was filed by the surviving husband and son of the victim seeking to hold the negligent driver and city responsible for the conduct of their actions. Just recently the city has proposed to settle the case for $1.56 million-it is awaiting approval by the area’s legislative body before being officially offered. Similar settlements have been approved connected to accidents of the same nature. A $2.4 million settlement was reached with a man who suffered a debilitating brain injury following a run-in with a squad car. Similarly, a $1.75 million settlement was given to the family of a woman killed after being hit by a city public works truck. Overall, the city reports that about 22 pedestrians are killed yearly while 800 are injured because of car and truck accidents.
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A drunk driver that was responsible for the death of five teenagers back in 2007 has been found guilty of five counts of reckless homicide, as well as of sixteen counts of aggravated driving under the influence. The car accident occurred when the woman was driving eight teens, who had been drinking, home from a party in a car that was only intended to seat five. The driver was then distracted by one of the teens, according to her account of the accident, and turned around to see what was going on at which time she lost control of the car and crashed into a utility pole. Five of the teens in the car died as a result of the injuries they sustained in the accident, and three others plus the driver suffered personal injuries from the accident. While the driver claimed that she drank a little bit earlier that evening and that it did not affect her driving, the toxicology reports that showed she was significantly over the limit may have been inaccurate because she suffered liver damage in the accident and that may effect the testing. Regardless of the toxicology reports, the jury found the Defendant guilty of all counts of reckless homicide as well as the driving under the influence counts. To read more about this Illinois car accident verdict, please click on this hyperlink.

This accident is a tragic reminder of why it is so important to not allow more passengers to travel in a car you are driving than there are seat belts in the car. Overcrowding a car can cause an accident that could have been minor to become a tragedy. Illinois accident attorneys remind you to always make sure that not only all of your passengers have a seat belt, but also that they are all always wearing the belts while the car is moving. Even on short trips accidents can occur and seat belts can safe lives.

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A Chicago police officer that was involved in a fatal car accident over two years ago is now expected to be called in a civil lawsuit over the same accident, now that the criminal charges against him have been dropped. The police officer was seen on tape drinking earlier in the night prior to the November 2008 car accident in which two Chicago men were killed. According to CBS, in the criminal case, the police officer defendant chose to exercise his right to not testify in the trial, and therefore did not testify about the amount of alcohol that he consumed the night of the accident. The breathalyzer test was also not admitted in the criminal case, and the police officer ended up being found not guilty. To read more about this Chicago car accident lawsuit, please click on this link.

The families of the victims are now suing the bar that was serving the police officer shortly before the accident, in a civil lawsuit. In this lawsuit, the police officer cannot exercise the same right to not testify and is expected to have to testify as to how much alcohol he consumed the night in question. In this civil suit the family is seeking monetary damages from the bar for serving the police officer and allowing him to leave the bar and drive, given the condition the officer was in at the time he left the bar that evening. Chicago accident attorneys remind all citizens that the place of business, or person serving, an intoxicated driver that caused a crash is often held liable or can faces civil lawsuits for serving the driver and failing to stop them from driving. Please stop anyone you know is about to drive when they have been drinking to safe both their life and the lives of others on the road.