$2.3 Million Illinois Jury Verdict for Injured Illinois Department of Transportation Flagger

A Jackson County, Ill., jury has signed a verdict for $2.3 million for Frank Adams who suffered a shoulder injury and abnormal scarring condition after he dodged a vehicles in a rear-end crash.

Adams was working as an Illinois Department Transportation (IDOT) flagger at the time of the crash. He sued pest-control company Terminix and its employee Brian Doll in 2015 claiming that Doll consciously ignored several school-zone signs and IDOT work warnings before causing the collision with an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) van in March 2014.

The jury’s verdict, which included $2,500 in punitive damages, is the highest verdict ever reported from Jackson County, Ill., according to the Jury Verdict Reporter. Adams had stopped the Illinois Department of Corrections van driven by Charles Ray Borum, which contained eight inmates at the time, because IDOT workers were trimming trees along Illinois Route 146 near Pope County High School.

Adams contended that Doll passed three IDOT work warning signs and at least three 20 mph school speed-zone signs but still chose not to reduce his speed before colliding with the IDOC van.

“We never had opinion testimony about [how fast Doll was traveling at impact] because the reconstruction expert from the state . . . didn’t do a full reconstruction,” said Adams’s attorney, R. Courtney Hughes of the Hughes Law Firm of Carbondale, Ill.  According to Adams’s counsel, when shown pictures of the damage at trial, Doll agreed there was no way he was traveling at the speed limit at the time of the crash.

Adams tore his right shoulder’s rotator cuff when he darted to avoid getting struck in the collision. He underwent reparative surgery, but he developed a condition commonly known as “frozen shoulder” in which scar tissue forms abnormally, causing severe pain and preventing typical shoulder function.

It was said that during the trial, the defendants tried to assert blame on Adams, stating that he was at fault for his own injury. “They blamed the Iraq War Hero for causing his own injuries by standing at the wrong location as a flagger.”

After this two-week jury trial, the jury signed the verdict in favor of Adams for:

  • $116,779 for medical expenses incurred,
  • $1,500,000 for past and future lost earnings,
  • $375,000 for past and future pain and suffering
  • and $375,000 for past and future loss of normal life.

Adams’s attorney said he told the jurors during closing arguments that his client forgave Doll for what happened and asked them to award only a $1 for punitive damages. The defense counsel then argued during closing that Adams wasted time presenting extensive evidence to ask for only $1 against Doll.

“So, I got up in my rebuttal and said, ‘Well, if you disagree with me, award more money against Mr. Doll; that’s okay too,’” said the attorney, Hughes. The jury came back with $2,500 in punitive damages. According to Hughes, “The big takeaway for both of them is they wanted the recognition that they lost their jobs because of the Terminix driver’s willful and wanton conduct and obviously they wanted to be placed as close as they could to a financial position they were in when they had these two comfortable state jobs. This trial was their attempt to rebuild their lives after losing their careers, and this will hopefully start to do that.”

The driver of the IDOC van, Charles Ray Borum, suffered a herniated disk and he lost his job as did Doll who lost his job as an IDOT employee because of his injuries.

Frank Adams v. Brian Doll, et al., No. 15 L 29 (Jackson County, Ill.).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling catastrophic injury cases, automobile accident cases, truck accident cases, work injury cases and construction site injury lawsuits 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 Bensenville, Barrington, Joliet, Orland Park, University Park, Naperville, Lincolnshire, Antioch, Vernon Hills, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Riverdale, Dolton, Blue Island, Hickory Hills, Western Springs, Wheaton, Waukegan, Chicago (Austin, Polish Village, Edgebrook, North Park, Irving Park, North Center, Lincoln Square, Ukrainian Village, Goose Island, Near North, Old Town, Lakeview, Ill.

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