Every day we get into cars with other drivers; however, we rarely think about the fact that we are entrusting our lives into those drivers. In the case of Cheri Razim, John Razim v. Steven R. Erickson, Zachary Stewart, 08 L 351 (Winnebago County), the plaintiff, Cheri Razim, sued the driver of her vehicle and the driver of the other vehicle involved for their cause in a motorcycle accident.
The Illinois motorcycle accident occurred on Memorial Day at a Winnebago County intersection. Razim was a passenger on Steven Erickson’s motorcycle, which was approaching the T-intersection; while Zachary Stewart was approaching from the opposite direction. Stewart made a left-hand turn in front of Erickson’s motorcycle. Erickson was unable to swerve out of the way and ended up striking the back of Stewart’s pickup with his motorcycle. Both Razim and Erickson were thrown from the motorcycle as it skid 98 feet from the site of impact.
As a result of the intersection accident, Razim sustained multiple fractures to her right arm, neck, femur, both legs, left ankle, and left foot. She was forced to undergo several surgeries, including an open reduction internal fixation of her right tibial plateau, left humerus, and right wrist. In addition, the multiple lacerations and abrasions she sustained required her to undergo plastic surgery and skin grafts on her right leg. The various procedures left Razim hospitalized for almost four weeks, with an additional six weeks needed at a rehab center. Despite her lengthy medical care, Razim is still primarily confined to a wheelchair and needs to keep her right leg straight and elevated due to venous insufficiency.
Razim filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver of the motorcycle she was on and the truck driver who turned in front of them. In addition to claims for her medical expenses and the pain and suffering Razim underwent as a result of the motorcycle accident, her husband also filed a claim for loss of consortium.
In addition, both defendants filed a counterclaim against each other in which they claimed that the other driver was not only responsible for Razim’s injuries, but also for each others’ injuries. In their defenses, both defendants claimed that the motorcycle accident was caused by the other driver. Erickson argued that Stewart’s pickup truck negligently turned in front of him and caused the accident and Razim’s injuries. Whereas Stewart argued that Erickson had not kept a proper lookout as he approached the intersection. In addition, Stewart claimed that Erickson had sped past another vehicle shortly before he reached the intersection.
At the end of the Winnebago County trial, the jury determined that Erickson was 100 percent responsible for Razim’s injuries and entered a $1.9 million verdict. And while the jury held that Stewart was also negligent, it held that his negligence did not cause Razim’s injuries; therefore Stewart was not responsible for paying any portion of the jury verdict.
The verdict against Erickson was broken down into the following damages:
• $436,943 for past medical expenses;
• $530,000 for past and future loss of earning capacity;
• $300,000 for past and future loss of normal life;
• $250,000 for past and future emotional distress;
• $250,000 for past and future pain and suffering;
• $200,000 for past and future disfigurement; and
• $22,625 for future medical expenses.
Razim and her husband were represented by Thomas E. Greenwald, a Rockford attorney; Greenwald made no demand to settle prior to the Illinois personal injury trial. Both defendants reportedly had $100,000 insurance policy limits; however, only Stewart’s attorney made an offer to settle prior to the start of the trial.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois motorcycle accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and injury cases for individuals and families for more than 36 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Alsip, Orland Park, Westchester, River Grove, Franklin Park, Schiller Park, and Villa Park.
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