$141,000 Cook County Jury Verdict When Truck Hauling Boat Backs into Car

On May 23, 2008, the plaintiff in this case, Carla C. Hudson, 43, was stopped at a red light on northbound Walnut Lane at Golf Road in Schaumburg, Ill.  The pickup truck driven by the defendant Barry McDonald, a Schaumburg Park District employee, was stopped directly in front of Hudson’s vehicle.

The pickup truck was hauling a rowboat, which stuck out several feet behind the truck’s tailgate, blocking McDonald’s view.

Hudson contended the truck suddenly reversed without warning and backed into her car causing her injuries. She sustained ruptured tendons and 4th and 5th fingers of her right hand, which required surgery.  She also claimed an unoperated knee surgery and cervical/lumbar spinal injuries. Hudson brought a lost time from work claim of $9,540 as a Navy reservist. Her medical bills were $81,627.

Hudson’s attorneys sought summary judgment on the issue of negligence, which was granted in advance of this jury trial. The defendants argued that Hudson was contributorily negligent for choosing not to back up to avoid the crash.

The defendants further disputed proximate causation maintaining that Hudson was non-compliant with aftercare instructions and was exaggerating her symptoms.

The defendants’ accident reconstruction expert testified that the impact was low-speed with superficial vehicle damage.  The defendants’ orthopedic surgeon expert gave opinion testimony that Hudson was a malingerer and if she suffered any injury at all, it was only a minor neck strain which resolved within 8 weeks.

The jury’s verdict of $141,374 was reduced by 8% from $153,667 versus both defendants with these damages:

  • $75,097 for medical expenses
  • $8,317 for lost earnings
  • $11,316 for past pain and suffering;
  • $9,568 for future pain and suffering;
  • $17,644 for past loss of normal life;
  • $13,432 for future loss of normal life; and
  • $5,520 for disfigurement.

Before trial, the parties entered into a $50,000/$350,000 high/low agreement. The attorneys who handled this trial on behalf of Carla Hudson were Michael S. Keating and Kevin P. Horan.

At trial, a treating neurologist and a nurse practitioner testified on behalf of Carla Hudson.  In addition, an expert in orthopedic surgery testified for Hudson. The defendants engaged experts in orthopedic surgery and accident reconstruction.

Carla C. Hudson v. Barry McDonald, Schaumburg Park District, No. 09 L 6167 (Cook County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile accident cases, truck accident cases, boating accident cases, bicycle accident cases, motorcycle injury cases and catastrophic injury 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 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Park Forest, Park Ridge, Mount Prospect, Naperville, New Lenox, Joliet, Elgin, Aurora, University Park, Wilmette, Glencoe, Northfield, Northbrook, Evanston, Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Worth, Alsip, Blue Island and South Holland, Ill.

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