$130,000 Cook County Jury Verdict for Injured Driver in Red Light, Broadside Crash

On Oct. 8, 2009, Kristin Gosell was driving northbound on the Willow Road exit ramp from Interstate 294 when the defendant, 42-year-old Hope Lerman, ran a red light on eastbound Willow Road and T-boned the driver’s side of Gosell’s car. Both cars were totaled in the high-speed crash. Gosell was trapped inside her car for 20 minutes until the Glenview Fire Department personnel could extract her from the vehicle.

She was taken by ambulance to Glenbrook Hospital where she was treated and released. However, Gosell, 39, sustained herniated discs at C3-4 and C5-6, soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and ribs and bruising to her chest and stomach. She underwent physical therapy, was treated by a pain specialist and first saw an orthopedist, Dr. Jay Levin, in October 2012. She had presented evidence of $34,851 for her medical expenses and also claimed lost time from her job as a teacher.

Dr. Levin testified that Gosell’s disc condition was permanent, but she was not a candidate for follow-up surgery.

The defendant admitted negligence, but contested the causation and extent of Gosell’s injuries. The defendant Lerman argued there were two substantial gaps in treatment. Lerman also contended that the herniated disc could have occurred during a domestic violence incident in June 2009 in which Gosell suffered a neck injury and underwent a course of physical therapy for which she was discharged from care one month before the crash. Lerman also claimed that the collision caused only soft tissue injuries, which would have resolved by January 2010 and that Gosell did not see an orthopedic surgeon until three years after the crash.

Dr. Levin reportedly conceded that this accident may have aggravated a pre-existing neck condition.  Gosell’s daughters were passengers in her car, but settled with the defendant before the start of the trial. In addition, Gosell was 38 weeks pregnant at the time of the trial.

The jury’s verdict of $130,090 was made up of the following damages:

• $57,000 for past and future pain and suffering;
• $38,000 for past and future loss of normal life;
• $34,851 for medical expenses;
• $239 for lost income.

Before the start of the trial, Kristin Gosell’s attorney, Bridget C. Duignan made a demand to settle the case for $176,000. The defendant Lerman offered $75,000 to settle the case. The jury was asked to return a verdict in the range of $224,090 to $350,090.

Kristin Gosell v. Hope Lerman, No. 11 L 8584, (Cook County, Illinois).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling intersection automobile crash cases, motorcycle accident cases, bicycle accident cases, truck accident cases and construction site accident cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Arlington Heights, Cicero, Evanston, Fox River Grove, Hinsdale, Joliet, Lincolnwood, Lincolnshire, Lisle, Glencoe, Glenview, Winnetka, Morton Grove, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Vernon Hills, Schaumburg, St. Charles, Aurora and Oak Park, Ill.

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