$100,000 Cook County Jury Verdict for Three-Car Rear-End Car Crash at Red Light

On April 12, 2012, Jennifer Hawkins was stopped at a red light on westbound 127th Street in Lemont, Ill.  The defendant, 18-year-old Nicole Barrett, rear-ended the car right behind Hawkins, which pushed that car into Hawkins’s car. The force of the impact totaled the middle vehicle (a Chevy Suburban) and caused nearly $5,000 in property damage to Hawkins’s Toyota Matrix. The crash also resulted in $4,727 in property damage to Barrett’s minivan.

Hawkins, 35, filed this lawsuit against Barrett maintaining that the crash caused her to have neck and lower back sprains, a protruding disc at C5-6, cervical and lumbar facet syndrome, cervical and lumbar radiculopathy and aggravation of her scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Hawkins underwent multiple facet joint injections, several nerve blocks and cervical and lumbar radiofrequency ablation treatment. She introduced evidence of $227,563 of past medical expenses and $6,589 in lost wages where she worked as a cashier.

Her treating physician testified that she was a candidate for a future spinal cord stimulator implant, lumbar fusion and continued interventional pain management treatment.

The defense for Barrett maintained that Hawkins suffered only a cervical strain, which resolved within approximately 6 months and suggested to the jury a verdict of $34,726 made up of $23,182 in medical bills, $6,549 in lost time and $5,000 for pain and suffering. The defense also suggested no loss of normal life.

The defendant’s expert who testified at this trial gave the opinion that none of the interventional pain management treatment was reasonable or necessary. The jury reportedly deliberated for 2 hours before it signed a verdict form in favor of Jennifer Hawkins in the amount of $100,000.  They jury’s verdict was made up of the following damages:

  • $70,000 for pain and suffering;
  • $23,000 for past medical expenses;
  • $7,000 for lost income; and
  • $0 for loss of normal life.

Before trial, the attorney representing Jennifer Hawkins, Autumn K. Leslie, made a demand of $250,000, which was Barrett’s automobile insurance policy limits.   Counsel for Jennifer Hawkins asked the jury to return a verdict of $634,152.  The only offer made by the defendant was $35,000, which was rejected.

At trial, Hawkins’s pain management physician testified as did a neurosurgeon expert on behalf of the defendant, Barrett.

Jennifer Hawkins v. Nicole Barrett, No. 14 L 901 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling car crash cases, truck accident cases, bicycle injury cases and truck accident cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Justice, Countryside, Country Club Hills, Rolling Meadows, Sauk Village, Schaumburg, Skokie, South Barrington, South Chicago Heights, South Holland, Stickney, Steger, Thornton, Tinley Park, Western Springs, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Alsip, Evergreen Park, Chicago (Logan Square, Mayfair, Jefferson Park, Edison Park, Albany Park, North Park, Ravenswood, Edgewater, Uptown, Andersonville, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Gold Coast, Goose Island, Little Italy, West Loop, West Town, Chinatown, Bronzeville, Kenwood, Oakland, Jackson Park, Grand Crossing, Avalon Park), Orland Park and Oak Forest, Ill.

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